Motherhood & Words

september, pregnancy and me

They just don’t mix. It was this very week four years ago, while I was pregnant with Stella, that my body began to shut down. The level of protein in my urine indicated kidney malfunction. I had gained over ten pounds in two weeks, all fluid. Soon I was lying in the hospital, vomiting and claustrophobic from the magnesium sulfate, my blood pressure suddenly 170/110.

But last week, I was actually feeling good. I was too busy, stressed with work and a freelance article and wondering how I would pull together my Loft syllabus and get a grant proposal written, but other than that, I felt good. I even had a moment of thinking, oh, this is what it’s like for all those other women. I barely gave a thought to preeclampsia, determined to try what my doctor suggested: not worry for twenty whole weeks.

One of my friends who has had more than her share of pregnancy tragedies recently said to me, “You never know exactly what to be afraid of. You worry about one thing and then all of the sudden this other horrible thing happens, and you realize that you never can know what to be afraid of.”

As you know, I have a vivid and neurotic imagination, and I am afraid of many things. But what I wasn’t worried about, what didn’t even cross my mind, was this: waking up at 4:30 on a Sunday morning, my pajamas covered in blood. What I didn’t think to worry about was a blood clot behind my placenta. Which could mean what? Placenta previa? Placental abruption? Just a clot that might reabsorb?

I don’t know yet, but now preeclampsia seems like a ball. Get me to 32 weeks and I’ll swell as much as you want. Get me to 32 weeks and I’ll lie in a hospital bed with magnesium sulfate pumping through my veins for weeks, and I won’t even complain. I swear.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to believe that a 32-week preemie could be my best-case scenario, that it could be something I would shoot for, after all we’ve been through. But here I am, hoping for it.

I go in tomorrow morning for another ultrasound, a stronger one. The big gun. Maybe they’ll be able to tell me more—I hope so. And I hope the little bugger is still there, heart pumping. I want this baby, goddammit. Can’t we get a break?

Posted in


I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. *camerashymomma* on September 10, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    oh my gosh… how terrifying! i’m not sure what to say other than take small steps to get to tomorrow, ya know? breathe breathe breathe and just breathe, soon it’ll be tomorrow and you’ll know more information. you just need more information.

    until then try to settle that wild imagination (i share one as well and even as i write that i’m thinking ‘yeah, right, there’s no settling your mind while pregnant’) um, i think i would cry and scream and be scared and sad and angry and then somewhere in the mix find the strength that you know is inside of you.

    and then eat some ice cream.

    take care tonight and know that alot of people are sending you good energy and many many thoughts of love.

  2. Mardougrrl on September 10, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Oh, Kate. 🙁 I’m so sorry. Please take care of yourself, rest, and hopefully the doctors will give you some good news.

    And I am with camerashymomma. I am thinking good, good thoughts for you and the babe.

  3. Sara on September 10, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Kate, I don’t know what to say other than I am so sorry. I really can’t imagine how scary this is for you. I’ll be thinking of you and your family tomorrow.

    Take care,


  4. Suzanne on September 11, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Oh, Kate. That really sucks. I’ll be thinking about you, and I hope it’s not as bad as you think.

  5. Ines Anchondo on September 11, 2007 at 11:07 am

    My hopes and wishes are that you and your baby are well.

  6. patty on September 11, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Kate, By now you probably have some answers. I hope and wish that they are good ones, that everything’s OK…and of course, that you and baby are fine. I am thinking of you and your family.

  7. Melissa on September 11, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Oh, Kate! Do let us know what you learn. Here’s wishing you peace.